Party: Quagger and I
So after a somewhat successful day of surveying (we still hadn’t worked out why the Hagsinhole survey wasn’t opening on my computer!) we decided to go check out Kiku Pot and get a start on surveying it.
Quagger found the entrance without a hitch, which is understandable since he is the one who discovered the cave. It is actually named after his old dog Kiku.
We entered the impressive entrance and followed the stream down between some bedding planes. There was a lot more water than expected and hopes of finding the pool at the bottom dry were dwindling. Sure enough, we found a deep pool of water and weren’t that interested in getting wet and then have to survey the cave.
We headed out and did a little more exploring. Quagger had been into the bottom part of the cave and thought there was a good chance for one of the “fingers” to join up near the entrance. I found a couple of loops, the top of one which has some really cool spar crystals. After exhausting most of the leads I went back to join Quagger who had been excavating rocks making visible a hole down into some sizeable passage. I helped him move a couple of big boulders out of the way and we were in! (I also noticed some large spar crystals at this opening!).
We scrambled down the sloping passage, passing the other end of the pool. There was a really cool syncline/fold in the rock which would make a pretty good photo. I think Quagger took a photo, but i’m not sure how it turned out.
Further in we found the impressive “egg carton” ceiling. I thought it might be a formation known as ‘boxwork’, but some reading leads me to believe that is called “etched”. Basically it is formed by “thin films of aggressive water that move slowly downward while adhering to the cave ceiling”. You can see some examples in the photos below, but I would like to spend some more time taking photos next time I am there… which probably won’t be that far away, because for some reason the Disto and PDA decided that they wouldn’t talk to each other properly, and then the PDA crashed… oh well… at least we had SRT gear and could drop the pitch and explore the back of the cave!
Dropping back into the cave, a good anchor placement found right above the pitch. Yay! We rapped down and then started exploring the stream passage that continued. Apparently the room had changed significantly. There was a lot less mud and the way on had opened up quite a bit!
Taking off my SRT kit I followed Quagger down. I then took lead where the passage kind of chocked… I got my head in down past a boulder and to my surprise the passage continued upwards doing nearly a full 180deg turn. We decided that we should name it the “Dogleg” to continue the canine theme. The passage opened up, I then went through a squeeze that dropped me into a room. The cave seemed to hit a contact and the stream split and disappeared into mud taking my virgin cave fever with it.
Returning back into the main room, I got the honors of climbing up the mud slope. It slit at the top. I climbed up to the right first, finding the first gallery of straws. The passage then ended at a pitch down into a room. I was confunsed at first. Was it a new room? But we soon had it sorted out. I had been looking down into the main room – the passage had just turned around a lot more than I had thought.
Continuing up the other direction – Quagger now in the lead. We crawled through some older passage. I climbed up a lead in the ceiling and found some straws and a large stalagmite.
Quagger continued along the lower level and I continued along the higher one. The passage was quite decorated and you had to be quite careful not to damage any of the decorations.
I got distracted photographing some shawls. It wasn’t long before Quagger reached a dead end, end seeing as the passage I was in seemed to drop down into a different room I continued down.
It’s a nice feeling knowing you are the first person to ever set foot in a cave. The mud floor of the cave was pristine and it took great care to get across without leaving a mark, and even more so to climb up the next slope which featured a thin layer of flowstone that had been eroded out in a similar fashion to how a false floor forms, leaving a waterfall kind of effect.
The climb ended in a room with no way on. I would have turned around but I spotted some amazing crystals and called down to Quagger that he had to come have a look!
The room was full of the largest spar crystals either of us had seen! We spent quite a while photo pfaffing before retracing our steps. In a way it was nice that the technology had failed, as we had made some pretty cool discoveries!